An interview with…..An Eco-Animator

For our lastest article in the ‘An Interview with….’ series we talked to eco animator Anita Sancha. Working from a small studio at her home in Herefordshire, Anita is creating short films dealing with “environment topics, planet earth, global warming and its effects on climate change, peak oil, and other issues like food, energy and transport.”

Heckler: How did you get into animation?

Anita: It’s a long story. I had a business where I was cutting up rare veneers for rich people, but I’ve got a big conscience so I sold the business and started doing animations. I made “home sweet home” and at that time I thought I was the only one around worried about climate change.

Heckler: How long ago was that?

Anita: Eight years ago.

Heckler: So what do you hope to achieve through your work?

Anita: I try to make animations with a message that will hopefully change people’s ideas and attitudes. The difficulty is getting my animations seen by a lot of people and getting shared on sites like Facebook and twitter. Therefore spreading the message. I try and make each animation non-verbal, so it crosses all language barriers and with the positive end.

Heckler: What sort of reach has your work had? Do you get feed back from all over the world?

Anita: I get some lovely feedback. I even had a fan club in a school in Brazil for a while. My animations are often shown in schools so teachers are usually the ones who write. They seem to spark off conversations about the various topics in class. But I never intended my animations to be used for education, but, as I said, they have no language and end positively that’s why I think they are shown more in schools than anywhere else. I also get invited to workshops and film and animation festivals, which is great because I meet loads of interesting people.

Heckler: Are you inspired by other artists?

Anita: I try not to see too many artists work, because I can feel more depressed and despondent as they are often so good. I am self trained and I suppose from that point to view I’ve tried hard to be as good as I can.

Heckler: Are there any specific environmental issues that inspired you to take the eco line with your animations?

Anita: I’ve got a book with about 50 ideas for animations and I just seem to take out of it the one that feals strongest at that time, but slowly I’m trying to cover all of them. However I did start off with global warming and air flight pollution with “home sweet home “.

Heckler: Can you say a bit about the methods you use in your work

Anita: I use stop motion and special effects software. I combine the two. For the stop motion I use plasticine mostly and props. Then photo the puppets frame by frame with the special effects software I then work in photoshop. I work in front of a computer for what seems hours and hours. Animations take time.

Heckler: And finally, how do you feel the green movement is doing in Herefordshire in raising awareness?

Anita: I think it’s moving on quite well. H energy week is certainly increasing in visitor numbers. I’m just hoping that the council will change and take on new green ideas.

A big thank you to Anita for taking the time to talk to us.

All of her work can be viewed via her website here.





Graffiti Knitters bring splash of colour to threatened trees

Late last night, Sunday 3rd, a group of local activists brightened up yet another dark chapter in the policies of Herefordshire Council. These graffiti knitters showed their support for the campaign to save 14 lime trees on Edgar Street by decorating them in a multitude of coloured woollen creations. If you haven’t experienced the joys of graffiti knitting, or yarn bombing as it’s also known, we recommend you take a stroll along Edgar Street and see their work.


It is hoped that by drawing attention to these trees more pressure will be put on the council to reverse their decision to fell them. It seems incredible that while cities the world over are striving to increase urban tree cover, Herefordshire Council continues to support the opposite. Of course, Jarvis and his cronies will view last nights antics as the work of vandals trying to stop progress, but the reaction of passers by suggests that there is public support for the campaign.

For more information on the campaign read here

‘I Tommy’ at the King’s Theatre, Glasgow. A Review

Carnybull takes a break from a steroid stratosphere to review a night at the theatre north of the border.

I trust readers will be all-too-familiar with the life and works of Tommy Sheridan, the so-called Scottish socialist, ex- Militant, ex-Scottish Socialist Party and now leader of the diminutive ‘Solidarity’ or, as wags would have it after his trials, ‘Squalidarity’. The creator of that bible of Scottish working class folklore ‘Rab C. Nesbitt’, Ian Pattison, has penned a show celebrating Tommy’s life, trials and subsequent jailing for perjury.

It has to be said that this is one of the cheapest sets ever seen on stage. Prop expenditure is at Youth Club levels. But the acting is fine, especially from the women playing the parts of slighted SSP members, with a standout performance from Michelle Gallagher as a shopaholic Gail Sheridan. Gail’s best line come as she mis-reads a statement from her husband after his jailing ‘I’ll be back, STRANGER than, sorry STRONGER than ever’. The central characters are Colin McCredie, playing Alan McCombes, who narrates the story, and Des Mclean playing Tommy himself.

Mclean, a Glaswegian comedian, made his name satirizing Tommy for many years, has him off to a tee, finding easy laughs from the local audience throughout. Whist the whole ensemble do their best to bring Tommy’s life and time up to date, they do so against the constraints of a script which misses a raft of golden opportunities to highlight the sociopathy underlying many a political career.

Ian Pattison, an anarchic comic writer of rare ability, had over a year to perfect the script from a wealth of source material including Alan McCombes book ‘Downfall’, extensive transcripts of the perjury trail and numerous reports of the preceding libel trial. Yet he misses out heated exchanges between Tommy’s bullying cross-examination of female members of the SSP. Nowhere to be heard is the classic episode where Tommy’s show on Radio Talksport advocated the right to strike for police; only for him to be arrested by police ‘comrades’ in the car park afterwards! And nothing is said about Tommy condemning the 500 arrested at the Poll Tax Riot whilst we rotted in police cells.

In short, the show is far too kind to the man, perhaps because, like him or loathe him, he is a celebrity and the media make money from celebrities by building them up – and by knocking them down. This show straddles the divide making it play safe with any future political development. That is a compromise born of expediency and not to be expected from a writer of Pattison’s undoubted calibre.

It feels as though he’s been to willing to be influenced by Alan Mc/Coombes

As one of Tommy’s victims and Des McLean as a Glasgow comedian guaranteed to put bums on seats, instead of being true to his art and pushing the boundaries as he does so often in Rab C. Nesbitt.

A lack of key source material providing independent satire takes away the bite the play needs to find an audience outside Scotland. However, it is guaranteed to provide hours of fun north of the border. Especially when you hear that over 30 Solidarity supporters have approached Tommy to reassure him they have bought tickets to support Tommy and hope he makes some money from the show – to Tommy’s intense frustration!


A burlesque dancer speaks

Following on from last year’s performances, the Jailhouse recently put on another burlesque night with two dancers performing to a packed out club. With its focus on sex, glitz and nostalgia it’s not hard to see why these nights are becoming so popular with a certain section of Hereford’s clubbing crowd.
We caught up with one of the dancers, Danny Demilo.

“I’ve been a burlesque dancer for about four years. I perform anywhere in the UK run my own burlesque night in Birmingham once every three months. The beauty of this line of work is it can take you to all corners of the globe.

“I love music and I love dancing, it’s my inspiration in life. I enjoy making a spectacle of myself as well as entertaining so I was naturally attracted to burlesque.

“I have a day job as well. A girl’s gotta eat! Some perform for free (it is a very saturated market) and few make a very good living out of it. I’m lucky enough to earn money from dancing but we all start at the bottom. A lot of work and money goes into it: routines, practice, costumes, promotion etc. The reason we all do it is because we enjoy it. After all, money is such an ugly subject.

“You don’t tend to get a lot of ‘dirty old men’ at performances and I’ve never really experienced any abuse. With performances of this nature you expect an objectifying audience and that’s fine and all part of the experience. But if any member of the ‘dirty mac brigade’ were present they’d soon see that it’s not overtly sexual and very tongue-in-cheek.

“As with any performance it can be a little nerve-wracking before you take the stage. I find it boosts your performance to be slightly nervous. A happy audience can encourage your confidence as it does any entertainer. That’s why you’re there, to entertain and enjoy yourself!

“I’m definitely a sexual object. Aren’t we all? And I celebrate it. I enjoy what I do and don’t consider it an issue if people find it degrading. It’s their opinion and they’re entitled to it. I’m one of the fortunate people to profit in so many ways by doing something I love. It’s my job and hobby!

“It’s hard to tell why burlesque has become so popular with women, I guess there’s something appealing about the glitz and glamour of it all. It’s liberating rather than degrading and there’s such a variety in performers. Most girls like to dress up and feel fabulous. It’s sexy and fun. What’s not to like?”

Check out Danny’s Opulence nights

All photos © William Allen